Closed Loop Partners announced a new report, “Accelerating Circular Supply Chains for Plastics,” as the next step in the organization’s work to identify solutions to stop plastics pollution, keep materials in play in circular supply chains and grow markets.
“With new applications of innovative technologies to purify, decompose or convert waste plastics into the building blocks for renewed raw materials, we can reduce landfill disposal costs for municipalities, decrease marine pollution and generate billions in new revenue,” said Closed Loop Partners in a statement.
The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners set out to learn more about the opportunity in its new report. The report is a call to action, highlighting opportunities investors and brands have to influence and accelerate transformational technology solutions that repurpose plastics waste and keep materials in play.
According to Closed Loop Partners’ analysis, if these technologies can meet market demands for recycled plastics and petrochemicals, they have a potential addressable market of $120 billion in the U.S. and Canada alone.
Key findings of the report include:
Technologies that keep plastics in play must be part of the solution to end plastics pollution:
- Demand for plastics is strong and growing, yet the supply of recycled plastics available to meet demand is stuck at 6 percent.
- There are an estimated 34-plus million metric tons of plastics landfilled or incinerated in both the U.S. and Canada each year.
- Current infrastructure and technology are limited in transforming all of the diverse types of plastics used today into high-value feedstocks that compete with prime, or virgin, materials.
- Technologies exist to repurpose these plastics into valuable materials; purification, decomposition and conversion technologies can all play a role.
There is real demand for plastics and other materials across the supply chain:
- Closed Loop Partners’ analysis indicates that these technologies could meet an addressable market with potential revenue opportunities of $120 billion in U.S. and Canada alone.
- The world’s largest brands, retailers and plastics manufacturers are making commitments around plastics recycling, recycled and recyclable content and recovery. Current projections indicate new demand of 5 million to 7.5 million metric tons by 2030.
- Beyond plastics, the demand also exists for chemicals and fuels—creating more opportunity for waste plastics to be repurposed into materials that can continue to flow through the economy.
This is possible. The innovation exists to meet the demand:
- There are 60 technology providers, nearly all of them at least at the lab stage of maturity, with significant potential to grow and scale. More than 40 technology providers are operating commercial scale plants in both the U.S. and Canada today or have plans to do so in the next two years.
- There is money to be made. Technology providers are operating profitably with higher margins as they mature and scale.
- There are 250 investors and strategic partners, including the world’s largest brands, private investors, petrochemical companies and plastic manufacturers, and government and nongovernmental organization partners, that are already engaging with the companies profiled in the report.
- Going from “possible” to “probable” will require: new solutions and business models that integrate innovations with existing infrastructure, flexible technology platforms that can evolve over time and market incentives driven by public and private policies.